Louisville District environmental program gets bigger and better

Published Oct. 15, 2010

Fiscal year 2010 was record-breaking for the Louisville District’s Environmental Program.  The program grew to $72.6 million, a 21 percent increase from fiscal year 2009.  This expansion was made possible by the heightened focus on strengthening  people and processes.
“I have seen several improvements,” said Patricia Bertsch, Formerly Used Defense Site Program Manager, Great Lakes and Ohio River Division.  “I’ve seen improvements in teamwork, benefits from increased training, and improved relationships between project managers, office of counsel and technical managers.”

The Louisville District’s military environmental mission is to perform cost-effective cleanup of DoD-related contamination and to protect human health, public safety and the environment.  There are three programs involved in environmental cleanup, the Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS), Installation Restoration Program (IRP) and Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) programs.   Additional environmental work is performed under the Environmental Quality (EQ) and Interagency and International Services (IIS) programs.   All of these programs saw successes in 2010.

“There was success across the board,” said Chris Inlow, the Louisville District’s program manager for the BRAC program and project manager for the IRP, EQ and IIS programs.  “It was not just a few programs doing well and picking up the slack, everybody executed their programs well.”

One of the main components credited for the recent success of the environmental program is the significant improvements in its processes.

“We’ve gotten a lot more accountability in our P2 data,” Inlow said.  “We’re doing a better job of saying, ‘This is what we’re going to execute,’ and then doing it.”
P2 is a suite of commercial off-the-shelf software applications configured to support project execution.  It is built on a relational database management system that collects, stores, and maintains all data.  It was initially introduced as being number-driven, and now it is more action driven. 

“You have to plan better and execute the actions in order to be successful,” said Inlow. “We’ve also got teams that have been in place for a while.  We know everybody’s strengths and weaknesses.  It makes everybody efficient.”

Project Delivery Teams (PDTs) were strengthened by combining all specialties within the district, including public affairs, office of counsel, contracting and real estate.

“The development of PDTs has been really important,” said David Dierken, FUDS program manager.  “I really saw improvements in project managers taking charge and building more consensuses on teams.”

Training has also been a major focus of the program this past year.  The success of ongoing in-house training with a PDT-focus resulted in the Louisville District receiving the national PRP On-the-Spot Award at this year’s Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) Conference in June.

“Training was the cornerstone of us doing well,” said Dierken.  “One of the highlights of the year has been the focus on training and gaining experience quickly.  There was no shortage of self-study, informal, and formal training opportunities.”

Louisville District Commander Col. Keith Landry praised the environmental team during a project review board meeting on their recent successes. 

“The best thing we can do is improve our teams and processes,” Landry said.  “That will keep us moving forward.”